Apple Appeals ITC Ruling That Bans Sales Of Watch Series 9 And Watch Ultra 2

Apple has lodged an appeal against the US International Trade Commission’s (ITC) ruling to ban the sale of Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 models in the United States. In the legal filing, Apple highlighted the potential “irreparable harm” the company may face if its latest Watches continue to be unavailable for purchase during the ongoing legal proceedings. On Tuesday, the technology giant submitted an urgent plea to the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, seeking an immediate suspension of the ban, says a report by news agency Reuters.

Apple urged the Federal Circuit to temporarily lift the ban, particularly until the US Customs and Border Protection makes a determination on whether the redesigned versions of its watches violate Masimo’s patents. Additionally, Apple requested a suspension of the ban while the court reviews the company’s appeal. The customs office is expected to announce its decision on January 12, as stated by the tech giant. To recall, the long-running patent dispute between Apple and medical tech firm Masimo is around the Apple Watch’s blood oxygen sensor (SpO2 sensor) technology.

According to reports, Apple Stores is promoting Watch SE, which remains available because it lacks the blood oxygen sensor.

Earlier in October, the International Trade Commission upheld a judge’s decision from January, prompting the case to enter a 60-day Presidential Review Period under the Joe Biden administration. While President Biden has the authority to veto the ruling during this period, no such action has been taken as of now. Apple later announced to proactively initiate measures to comply with the ITC’s decision ahead of the expiration of the Presidential Review Period on December 25.

The directive prohibits the importation of all Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 models into the US after December 25. Moreover, Apple would face restrictions in selling these devices to resellers. Consequently, if the ruling stands, it has the potential to affect the availability of Apple Watches for other retailers.

Notably, days before the looming ban was about to be implemented on its smartwatches, Apple devised a strategy to salvage its $17 billion business, said a report by news agency Bloomberg. The report mentioned that the company’s engineers were working to implement software fixes and explore potential workarounds. Specifically, adjustments to algorithms measuring a user’s blood oxygen level — said to infringe on Masimo Corp.’s patents — were in progress.

The focus was turned into modifying how the technology calculates oxygen saturation and presents the data to users, as informed by individuals familiar with the ongoing efforts.